Cruise of the U.S. Flag-Ship Hartford – From the Personal Journal of Wm. C. Holton

We arrived at Vicksburg on the 25th, where we found the Brooklyn and Richmond, the gunboats, and mortar fleet; and, soon after arriving, an officer came on board from Commodore Davis’s fleet, and communicated with Commodore Farragut. Davis, in our absence, had moved down the river, and now occupied a position just above Vicksburg.

Preparations were immediately made for an attack, by putting the mortars in position but they did not open until the evening of the 26th. On the following day they bombarded slowly the whole day. In the evening a council of Commanders determined to attack the place on the following morning. During the night the mortars were moved up to easy range, and on the 28th, before daylight, the mortars opened in earnest. The whole fleet now moved up to the attack. Our ships were before the city, while the shells from the mortars were being hurled right over our heads, and, as battery after battery was unmasked from every conceivable position, the ridge of the bluff was one sheet of fire. The big ships sent in their broadsides, the mortars scores of shell, and all combined to make up a grand display and terrible conflict. After nearly two hours of hard fighting, our ships had nearly all passed the city, out of range, and the firing ceased.

On looking around I found the Hartford riddled from stem to stern; first a hole through her bow, then two through the side, one below water, then another through the bulwarks, another through the stern and cabin, and another through the smoke-pipe, &c., &c., the main topsail-yard cut in twain, and the rigging terribly cut fore and aft.

Our casualties in killed and wounded were light, one killed, and a dozen slightly wounded, including the Flag Officer and Capt. Broome of the marines—while the casualties of the fleet were less than a dozen in killed. The afternoon was devoted to burying the dead and communicating with the ram fleet belonging .to Commodore Davis’s division. From our anchorage we’ could see across the point of land to General Williams’s camp and the transports below, and we immediately established communication with them. Here we spent the Fourth of July, which was celebrated by the booming of cannon from both fleets, and a volley of shells to the rebels. I visited the iron-clad gunboat Benton, which to me was quite a curiosity.

Cruise of the U.S. Flag-Ship Hartford–Wm. C. Holton

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